Physical Preparation Coach
Today’s junior high and high school athletes are busier than ever. In the sports world, we’re living in this time where kids are playing sports all year round. Whether it’s one main sport that they have specialized in and they play for their team and then travel teams the rest of the year. Or they play multiple sports but end up playing 2-3 of them at the same time majority of the year.
If you’re a parent of one of these athletes, you’re living it right now driving your kid around all week.
If you’re a coach, you’re competing against time with other sport coaches for time with your athletes.
Everyone wants to win, everyone believes they need to do more, and everyone is looking for that edge.
But, as a Physical Preparation Coach, I see many problems existing with the way of the sports world right now. I’m not going to try to go down the rabbit hole just yet trying to solve all of the world’s problems in one Lifestyle Blog post. But I will make a conscious effort to advocate for your athlete...And more quality is what we need for them, not just more work for the sake of more work.
You see, most of these athletes go from sport to sport, coach to coach, all looking to get the most out of each athlete. The kids are getting passed around from one adult to the next without consideration of what the athlete is going through. You may have a baseball pitcher who is asked to pitch a no hitter against the teams rival one night, but the night before he was running 400-meter races the night before for the track team.
This is one example, but when your athlete performs at a high level, in a game/match/meet, a practice, a workout, the next day they will not be 100% ready to go…Heck even 90% ready, which is their “A-Game.”
With less than stellar planning for not allowing these kids to recover outside of Sunday, we’re asking them to give us A-Game performances while only operating at their 70-90% if we’re lucky.
To be honest, this whole more is better model is really all out of whack for athletes to truly excel, let alone trying to avoid overuse injuries, and hopefully not burn out. But again, this isn’t why I’m writing this to convince people to change this model, yet.
I’m all for kids playing multiple sports (I actually tell parents to athletes younger than 12 to sign their kids up in different sports and wait until they come to JYT), it’s the only time in their life to play the sports they want. But it must be a methodical approach. Not, let’s play the same sport(s) all year long with no breaks or time to develop their bodies.
In the past few years, we here at JYT on our end have had to make certain adjustments to our programming for these busy athletes. Majority of our athletes currently are always in some sort of sport at any given time. Most never have a true off season anymore. We have had to make adjustments to not just keep pouring on more and more work onto them and make adjustments to fill in the gaps for them.
But if you’re a coach of a junior high and high school athlete of a parent, I have a few action steps to make sure your athletes are doing to help make happen for them so that they can keep up with the current demands we call athletics these days.
Lastly, sport coaches I know you may not like this because it may be your sport, but if the athlete is involved a current sport, it’s okay to keep them out of a second and especially a third sport especially if it’s only open gym. Let’s have these athletes focus on one sport at a time and let them focus on themselves so they can produce at a true 90% or better when it matters for them and their teammates. They will be able to give back to their team way more if they’re healthy, rested, and motivated!
If you want to see your athlete(s) staying healthy, not getting burned out, and just simply excelling when they compete, then you will implement these 3 things as soon as humanly possible for them to give your busy athlete(s) the edge you are looking for!
Physical Preparation Coach
With the Winter Olympics going on and the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, it brings up a good reminder for myself to share with you. It's funny, the longer you coach, the more gems you build up and store away in the back of your mind. And then out of nowhere, they somehow pop up and circulate back to the forefront of your brain again...And yes that just happened earlier today...
I remember having this realization many years ago, that the same things that are good for Elite Athletes to do for preparing for their sport, are all the same things that anyone else should be doing to either prevent, perform, and fix for their physical selves. It just may happen on a scaled down version.
Now, maybe you're reading this and you're saying, "slow down Joel, I'm know where near being an Elite Athlete."
But are you?!
Don't click off of this yet and go back scrolling your timeline!!
Still here? Good! You see, my background in coaching has always been about Sport Performance and getting the most out of my athletes. Whether they are high school athletes, motocross racers, powerlifters, mothers, fathers, business owners, etc, I have always applied the same training and fitness principles to all of them. Not the same programs, but the same principles.
Elite Athletes lives may look a little different from your life. They train hard, and they focus on recovering for their next workout, practice, or competition. At least they should be...So, because of this lifestyle, they have to pay attention to the little details, they can't live like a normal person and get away with 5 hours of sleep, eating honeybuns for breakfast, and sipping on a Coke in the middle of the day. They turn up the pressure to perform, so the stakes get higher. Their life doesn't look exactly like the normal American Lifestyle as you would expect. Here's a brief glimpse of how an Elite would/should be living to maximize physical performance...
Realize, this is extremely general of how elite athletes spend their time getting ready for competition. So don't take this all out of context. But it's certainly in window of reality of how they are living their lives. And I understand that these athletes may not have half of the responsibilities that you may carry (it's supposed to be that way for them), but almost all of these things above should be very realistic for almost everyone to obtain themselves at some capacity.
Outside of high level athletes that I work with, a lot of people that come to JYT suffer with so many similar things. All too often I hear of symptoms like...
And honestly what's super funny/awesome, when they start adapting these same principles as above that our high level athletes follow, all of these symptoms start to go away for them. Energy levels rise, body fat levels decrease, strength and definition show, they're aches and pains dissipate and they overall feel better in their daily lives.
You may not be as strong, or as fast, or as good at athletics as high level athletes, but the same things that work for Elite Athletes will probably work pretty good for you too!
Physical Preparation Coach
With POWER comes RESPONSIBILITY
We (I) started watching Formula 1 Drive to Survive on Netflix. It's a really good show, especially to see insights on how elite athletes and teams operate at the highest level...Lots of pressure and expectations are put on themselves and the others around them!
But with watching this show, it made me think of a comparison often made in the Sports Performance world...
Are you a sedan or are you a race car???
You see, sedan cars that you see everyday driving to work, to the grocery store, and to JYT, these cars operate on a low performance level. They're fast enough to do the speed limit, to get from Point A to Point B, and they're usually meant to be pretty comfortable to be in.
They also can still be driven for many miles on bad tires, bad alignments, past due oil changes, etc and you probably wouldn't notice much difference in the cars performance while driving it...And this is totally fine, at least until your mechanic gets mad at you!
But, on the flipside of this, a race car like a Formula 1 car, would maybe end a drivers life if they took the car on the track with bad tires, bad alignment, and old oil in the engine.
The Formula 1 ("race car") car demands much more attention to detail. And to be honest, they are way more high maintenance than the sedan car in order to perform at what it's meant to do.
So this is the part where we spin the conversation back to humans and performance.
You may have started out your training journey (athlete or not) as a sedan. But as you've morphed yourself into the high performing race car, you need to pay attention to the little details more carefully. The days of getting very little sleep, living on poor nutrition, and not factoring rest into your training can wreck havoc on you and worst case scenario can lead to injury or illness.
Sometimes training hard gets a bad rap because of people not realizing, you can't be a race car living like a sedan.
When a "race car" gets a tweak from training hard.
People may say something like this...
"Ahh see you shouldn't have been pushing yourself that hard, that's what happens."
No, maybe they just need to dial in life outside of training or training in general because now they have such higher outputs compared to a non trained individual (a "sedan").
And what really happens, is that person is performing some AWESOME THINGS that most people can't do without hard work! There's a reason we think race cars are amazing vs sedans being a normal car. Race cars are built with may more work and detail while a sedan is built on an assembly line in no time. Doesn't make one overall better than the other, but there's differences.
But let's not forget the sedan comparison from earlier...How many people do you think are walking around with issues in their bodies, but they never push themselves hard enough to even find out how jacked up they actually are? Lets not forget that problems are still problems until they become symptomatic.
So anyways, think about where you are on the spectrum from sedan to race car. The further you slide the needle towards race car, the more responsibility the athlete AND COACH have in order to harness that power and make sure everything is ON TRACK for that person to continue to operate at their full potential!
With Power Comes Responsibility
Physical Preparation Coach
On the surface, most people, coaches, and athletes look at training through a very binary lens. Meaning they think in a way of like this..."Go to gym, work hard, get results."
And while yes this is all very true, you must understand that training has MANY MANY MANY layers to it!
When you train, you're building up or improving different levels of fitness. Realize, that fitness means a lot of things. And for everything it means and the physical abilities it provides, there's all these sub categories to them as well.
These are just some examples of the levels to this training stuff...
As you can see, there's a lot of good training abilities that can improve on for any individual. But the reality in the training world is that WE CANNOT IMPROVE ALL OF THESE QUALITIES AT ONCE!
This is why there is NO PERFECT PROGRAM!
However, in a solid training program, you have to realize that in order to improve something, something else will have to be given up on a little bit.
For example, you cannot be at your absolute strongest potential while being at your best aerobic potential at the same exact time. They are two abilities that directly complete with each other. This doesn't mean they both can't be in a great place at the same time, but it just means they won't be in their absolute superior form of performance.
So what do you need to know after reading this?
You need to be sure that you know how your program fits together. Timing, sequencing, methods, exercise selection and so on...IT ALL GOES TOGETHER!
You also need to know that your training cannot fully optimize every element of every fitness ability at the same time. Something needs to be put aside in order to make progress elsewhere. If you do not structure your training this way, then you will only develop all of these qualities to be average at best (jack of all trades, master of none).
This is why in training you have to understand what you're giving up (the step backwards), in order to propel yourself forward (the 2 steps forward).
If you do not have a pulse on this concept, then you will be training like how most frustrated people train. 1 step forward to go 2 steps backwards...
Physical Preparation Coach
I'm not going to lie, this is a tough question for someone like myself to answer...
You see, since Junior High, training has been a part of my life. I don't have some kind of epiphany moment, or some deep emotional story to explain why I got into the fitness industry. I was an athlete, I had goals, I wanted to win, so I fell in love with training because of something deep inside myself that I can't truly explain. I just knew that training was a gateway to make things happen for what I wanted to achieve. And when it came time to decide what I'd do for a living, I was just hooked and wanted to share this world with other motivated people!
So when people ask me questions like this, it's tough for me to really give a straight answer. Because I believe you have to have some sort of internal motivation that can't be created from someone else. If it is created from someone else, it will be short lived. I truly believe you have to have that willingness for self improvement.
I'm not in the business of motivating people, I'm in the business of coaching motivated people!
But I will share a few cool things that I think can really help you if you find the motivation in yourself if you're in this situation. And these ideas are real world practical things. Not some abstract motivational quotes that will help motivate your for the next 5 minutes of your life. These are things to take action on, that will get the ball rolling for you!
So check these out. These same things are used to help even the motivated people when even they're not feeling it or find themselves out a groove. I truly believe they will help you if you're lacking in the motivation department.
1.) Just Show Up and Complete the Warm Up
I got this idea from my good buddy, Brian Scott who is a competitive powerlifter. He says that if he's not motivated for his workout, "to just have a plan to complete the warm up and nothing else. And afterwards, you'll realize it's not that bad and while you're already there, you might as a well just get your training session in." Sometimes it's daunting thinking about everything you need to do at the gym that day and that can kill motivation for wanting to start. But if you can just start off with just focusing on the warm up, it will help take the pressure off of the rest of the workout.
2.) Light a Fire
I don't mean a real fire, but when you're working out, your goal should be to do just enough every time, to see or feel improvements. You don't want to just work for the sake of working. Walk out of the gym feeling accomplished, not destroyed. If you're feeling accomplished, then you will be motivated for more! If you're feeling destroyed, than it probably means you've pushed too far and that's not good for results, but it will leave you dreading the next workout. By stimulating progress, this will not only help your fitness result skyrocket, but it will drastically help build momentum!
3.) Do Things You Enjoy or You're Good At
This is not an excuse to skimp out on the things that you need to be doing. But, this always means that if you prefer Back Squats over Front Squats and feel like you can get more out of them, then just stick with Back Squats if that's what is working best. You see, my goal is to obviously work and push my clients. But, we also take notice of which exercises they do well and seem to thrive within the best. Because if you're thriving in these exercises, you will get a lot more out of your workout and it will leave you wanting to feel that success even more!
So these 3 things will help get you motivated and staying motivated. If you're on that fence right now, of "I want to fall in love with training but it's just a been a challenge for me to get to that place," then try implementing these same 3 things and I think you'll see that training can be this positive and rewarding experience gift that you can give yourself!
Physical Preparation Coach
In the world of training, there lies two different categories. One being Aesthetics, one in which you visually see physical stature and its results. This would be comprised of someone's body composition (their lean muscle mass and body fat levels), as well as their physical proportions. We see the focus of training for Aesthetics primarily in areas like Bodybuilding, Modeling, and people who simply want to look good in the mirror. These individuals train to optimize the goal of physical appearance. On the other hand, we have Performance. This is what we see with our eyes as we watch humans move their bodies. This can be anyone from Athletes, Physical Therapy Patients, to anyone in the gym trying to increase their workout performances. These types of individuals train to optimize the goal of human performance and what we often see is their strength & speed as proof of their results.
Why Are These Not The Same
These two different approaches must be looked at differently in their approach to training. Someone who trains for Aesthetics shouldn't place primary focus on what their physical performance is doing. For example, a Bodybuilder who is cutting down for a show will most likely watch their lifting numbers decrease as they are training with fewer calories than normal. This often times creates a false sense of failure, but in reality they should be weaker due to a caloric deficit that these athletes are in to burn off the final percentages of body fat away for a show.
On the other side of the spectrum, people who train for Performance shouldn't place primary focus on their aesthetics. For example, the High School Football player who lifts weights by Benching and doing Bicep Curls all off season may look as if they're becoming a better athlete by filling out his tee shirts, but if he doesn't improve his Speed and Power to become a better player, then his arms will only look good standing on the sidelines on Friday Nights.
If you focus too much on the wrong things for the wrong people, you can easily give yourself false perception of success during the process of training.
The same goes for a false sense of failure. You may witness an individual in training that may not look like they are achieving "success" due to your standards, but they may in fact be knocking it out of the park for what their intended goal is.
These are examples of the two realms on each end of the spectrum of training. When furthering this conversation and understanding the whole picture, this isn't an all or nothing conversation...
We will soon uncover, that both of these areas are related to one another.
What is JYT's Stance?
At JYT, we primarily focus on Performance. My background in coaching is heavily influenced by Sport Performance. How I train all of my clients stems from training principles of developing a high level athlete. In my belief, whether you're an athlete or not, you should be able to move and function well first and foremost. The systems of the human body in movement, along with the energy systems (cardio) we use to produce energy, is really awesome and unique, and this fascinates me. Being able to improve these systems for each client is even way cooler. Helping people receive these training results so that they, too, can experience power, is the best!
Does this mean I don't like Aesthetic type of training? No, of course not! I believe Bodybuilders are some of the most dedicated and disciplined athletes you may ever find. I've also learned tremendous amounts of knowledge from this side of the industry. But at the end of the day, whether you are training to stand on stage or just want to drop 25 pounds by any means possible, those means of doing it are not all that intriguing to me as a coach, simply because there are a lot of different roads that you can choose to change aesthetics, but will severely hinder optimizing physical performance. And I prefer performance capability.
Moving forward, you must understand that both Aesthetics & Performance co-exist in the same arena.
Body composition is very critical to understand and realize it's importance in Performance and Aesthetics. For athletes, no matter how fast, strong, or conditioned you think you are, if you're carrying excess amounts of body fat on you as an athlete, you're holding back performance from yourself whether you'd like to admit that or not. You can't deny the fact either, that if you have ten more pounds of lean muscle mass on you, that maybe you could have avoided an injury due to extra muscle mass to protect your frame from a sport impact. These are assessments and considerations that must be made in regards to performance.
On the other hand, the Bodybuilder must be able to have some sort of level of human performance, or they wouldn't be able to train effectively to build levels of muscle and burn the body fat that they need to in order to achieve advanced features of aesthetics. Same goes for that person in their Fitness Class trying to lose 25 pounds; they must be able to have enough athletic ability to perform exercises like burpees and mountain climbers to burn those calories off to achieve their goals.
Since my philosophy comes from a Performance background, I stick to my guns and what I truly understand and how I can best do my job to serve my clients.
When it comes to my Athletes and my Racers, you better believe that Performance is on the very forefront of my mind. I much rather them pass the competition test, than have them pass the eye test. I don't really care if they look like a monster, but I want them to perform like one! This does not mean that we don't care about their nutrition or what their body composition levels are doing, but nutrition is just seen in a different light as a tool to increase performance and to improve body composition as a bi-product of hard training.
For our working professionals, we take a similar approach. These individuals whom are Success Stories at JYT, truly understand that improved performance in the gym, correlates with improved performance in life. They understand that when you do the things that you need to do to increase your human performance, that equates to more energy, feeling better, moving better, and gives you an improved sense of confidence and well-being!
From what I know and from coaching experience from developing athletes, that if you train hard and eat for performance, YOU WILL receive aesthetics results as a bi-product of these behaviors and efforts. You can have the best of both worlds and that the two worlds don't have to be exclusive to each other nor should they have to be. When you become a high performing individual in the gym or your sport, you too should show from some aesthetic outcomes as well.
In my eyes, it doesn't really take much to look better in the mirror. It just takes a mindset and dedication to achieve those types of results. To gain muscle, lift some weights and eat protein and carbs. To lose body fat, burn calories and eat less crap. But the reality is, if you're going to be dedicated as an individual or an athlete in improving your body composition to look better in the mirror, you might as well place those efforts so that you're ensuring that you feel and perform good as well. You can become stronger, more mobile, improve your conditioning, improve your daily energy levels (by avoiding hard core dieting). You can feel good and look good, too!
It's not very hard to look better in photos, but it takes more precision to ramp yourself up to incredible physical performances!
How We Do This
First things first- all of our clients are put on a performance based program. We want our athletes to be more explosive, our racers to have a strong internal motor, and working professionals to be high performers. Once we get them off and rolling to these Performance based outcomes through hard work in the facility with daily coaching, we include and add in other values that will not only yield aesthetic results, but also help with recovery and healthy lifestyles to support their performances.
We provide our clients with Meal Plans based on their goals. We do weekly body weight check ins for accountability, but more importantly, to track their long term results. We do body measurements every month to see what the inches are communicating to us. We also do quarterly/bi-annual progress pics to eliminate day to day visual biases.
Between training hard and eating to perform consistently, we know that our clients will not only feel strong and healthy, but they will also look strong and healthy. There's nothing like a great physique that can back it up with awesome physical performances!
What To Take From This
No matter what your primary goal is, I want you to understand that there is an importance on not only looks, but also feels (haha you like one?!).
If you got into training to look better in the mirror or pictures, that's totally cool. But I challenge you to push yourself with your overall physical performance as well. This will help create an atmosphere to train and really push yourself. Chase performance, just as much as you're chasing aesthetic changes. This will only accelerate your aesthetic results!
If you're an athlete, pay attention to the foods you're putting into your body. Is your normal diet helping you recover, perform, or hindering your body fat levels? Fuel your body to perform at peak levels!
If you're a gym enthusiast who likes to see their workout performances increase, are you neglecting your diet because you can pat yourself on the back walking out of the gym? Be sure to understand that you can be strong and lean...You can also be strong and healthy by taking care of yourself and adding some accountability to your healthy lifestyle. Crush your nutrition just like you crush workouts!
No matter what it is that you do or who are, if you're in this game of training, you, too, can both acquire aesthetics and performance gains!
Physical Preparation Coach
My background and philosophy in coaching is heavily influenced by Sport Performance. My true core of coaching is training and developing athletes and racers. But, I also work with a lot of working professionals who enjoy the luxury of having a coach helping them with their fitness. A lot of these clients are Entrepreneurs, Self-Employed, or they work some very high performing jobs!
Other than wanting to create a facility and something of my own, one of the main reasons I never wanted to stay coaching in college, or pursue being a Strength & Conditioning Coach for a Pro Sports Team (both of these would've been awesome opportunities by the way), was the fact that I never wanted to be tied down to training just one group of training population. I wanted to have no limits on who I was allowed and not allowed to train. And to be honest, when I first came to this realization, I never would have imagined that I would end up helping as many Working Professionals as I have had up to this point in my career. There is a lot of working professional that just happen to take their fitness very seriously!
I truly enjoy working with this population for a few reasons. I believe how you do something, is how you do everything. And what makes them successful in life, is also the same things that makes them successful within their fitness journey!
With this group in mind, I wanted to write a Lifestyle Blog that was unique to the working professionals. I'm going to share with you some overall fitness concepts that I have learned from working with Athletes, that have been critical to building success stories with our Working Professional population. It is (or it should be now) common knowledge that by giving attention to your health and fitness, can help allow you to perform at a higher level in your career. Here is a short list of benefits...
Being a business owner myself, I get included in on a lot of fitness related conversations that Entrepreneurs share with each other. And I also see these same trends within the high performing working professionals. Most are great ideas in order to improve physical performance to match their work performance, but some need more attention.
Lets see how your fitness and career share a symbiotic relationship!
Managing STRESS Levels
It's very important to understand that training is a stress that you're placing on your body. It's a stress just like the stress that you deal with difficult customers, pain of having to fire an employee, or a lifestyle of a bad diet. The good thing about training, is that you get to control that stress and manipulate it to allow you to adapt and raise your levels of fitness.
Without getting too deep into details, you have to realize that stress is accumulated as a whole in your body. Your body doesn't save energy for work, life, and then the gym. It gets lumped into one big pile of energy for the day. And all too often, these working professionals have stressful days of work, only to rush to the gym to "unload their stress levels" with their hardest workouts of the week.
Does this sound familiar? If it does, don't worry, I can totally see why this would make sense and/or it may make you feel temporarily feel better (from endorphins/distraction/etc). But, you have to 100% understand this will not be the best way to improve fitness results, especially if this is your normal routine. You're going to leave a lot of physical progress on the table, and even worse get hurt/sick if you do not respect this reality!
You see, your body likes to take stress for short periods on time, and then have the time to recover/adapt to it. If you do not give it that time to recover/adapt, then stress becomes a chronic environment, and it will begin to break you down instead of providing growth. Think add some STRESS, and then RECOVER from it. And because your body see stress as a whole, your workouts have to factor into this big pile of stress as well if you want to see positive results from your workouts!
So here are a few possibilities for you to handle your workouts with your stressful days of work!
1.) The 9-5 Professionals
You are someone who works long 9-5 hours, Monday through Friday and still like to train...You can still train, but just realize that for you, more is probably not better. Leave enough room in the tank for 2-3 good workouts a week and maybe 1-2 light workouts on other days. Understand that if the day of work beat you up, don't be afraid to lighten up the workout to live to fight another day. This is not you being a sissy, it's being smart so that you don't hurt yourself and have to spend the next handful of weeks feeling like a sissy because you can't train.
2.) The Short Term Hectic Professionals
You are someone who has a job that is pretty low stress most of the time. But you have 1-2 days out of the week that are really stressful. You will want to save your hard workouts for days or time periods that don't conflict with your hard days at work. Make sure you have a day or two between hard days at work and in the gym. This will allow stress levels from the gym to come down in time before your next hectic time at your job.
3.) The Alternating Professionals
If you're in a situation where you have high stress days on and off during the week just based on your schedule, but you know the next day or two will be easier. Place your hard workout on the high stress work day. This way, you can place all of your stressful activities on one day, and you can use the following days doing less stressful things on an off/easy day of work.
These are just a couple possibilities of how to help manage your stress levels between work and training. There are a lot of different options and scenarios to play out between different people, different jobs, different programs, and different goals. But as a Working Professional, you have to understand or take in account of juggling your stress levels. Don't let stress get too high for too long, and then stay high because you want to get your workouts in. We need time to recover, if we don't, you'll just end up with high levels of stress 24/7 and never giving your body a chance to recover. This will be one of the fastest ways to spin your wheels with your training progress and even worse, cause damage to yourself.
Working professionals are driven and hard working people. They know how to suck it up and push through. This is an amazing intangible quality to have that can also become a weakness when it is mismanaged. If they let the candle burn at both ends, they will see some solid training results for a small handful of months, but if they don't address their stress management, they will soon run out of steam and their training progress will come to a halt. The working professionals who understand how to do this, can maintain a well balanced approach of training hard and working hard in their respective careers!
Nutrition for the Working Professional
This is something that really needs to be addressed in this population of Working Professionals. Now more than ever, we're exposed to many different diets to follow every year (most that just get recirculated by changing there names by the way). But there have been two common trends that Entrepreneurs and high level Working Professionals love to dive in to. And before we do that, I just want to give you a quick biology background on food and the human body.
The calories that we consume on a daily basis support us in living. We need to eat, or we'll eventually die without calories. However, when the word "calories" get brought up, the conversation typically gets discussed with the comparison to working out. And that's understandable. It's not too hard to hear that the best way to lose weight is to move more and eat less. It's an energy equation. But what we don't talk about enough, is how the calories are distributed throughout the body. Majority of the calories that we consume are used for our organs (especially the brain, in which runs amazing on sugar), daily activities, and actually they are way less responsible for working out than what we tend to think.
So with this in mind, you have to realize that as Working Professionals, what do you do all day long at work? You problem solve with your brain. Your brain needs calories to operate and to operate at a high level. And if you have a job where you're moving a lot on your feet, you'll be needing more calories to support your increase daily activities as well.
So now what? If you have a demanding job, that you need to just be shoving calories down your throat? Not exactly...
A common current theory and practice that has been popular with Working Professionals is to practice long periods of fasting, going low carb, and eating very light (small chicken salads for example) to stay mentally sharp in their job. A lot of these same people who follow these methods will make claims that they do feel mentally better, can eat out at dinner meetings and stay leaner, and that they overall feel better.
I can believe these claims are true. I've followed these approaches too at different times of my coaching career. And they work up to a point. You see, if your diet kind of sucks, and you make a switch to just not eating like crap, you will probably feel better just based off of the fact that you've eliminated these "crap" foods. But if you're not eating throughout the day, depriving yourself from carbs (sugar that the brain needs to function at high capacity), and just trying to snack on small salads, you might be swinging the pendulum back the other direction a little too far and missing the boat to really perform at your highest levels in your career. Let alone, supporting your gym workouts too!
This is where, understanding that what works for high level athletes, has tremendous carry over to high level working professionals like yourself! Give your body what it needs to do the job it needs to do. If you're depriving yourself for too long, you won't even realize how you'll begin to under perform at work and in the gym.
In this Lifestyle Blog, I don't want to turn this into a Meal Plan, but I would like to offer you some suggestions that can help you get in that middle ground between, eating like crap to strict depriving diet plans...Follow these rules and watch how much more productive you'll be at your job (and in the gym) and watch your body change without having to deprive yourself!
1.) Eat at least 3 meals a day (including breakfast). This will help give your body the calories it needs to function all day.
2.) Consume lean protein (eggs, turkey, chicken) at every meal. Your muscles need it from your training, and it will help support fullness and your metabolism.
3.) Consume complex carbs (oatmeal, potatoes, rice) at every meal as well as vegetables and use fruit to snack on. This will help you avoid daily cravings and help keep you away from snacks and donuts that are brought to work. You will now have great mental focus, energy, and will severely reduce cravings during work.
4.) If you have a dinner planned after work, just be sure to not snack extra throughout the day. Also, when you increase your metabolism through working out, increasing caloric intake, eating protein and carbs, the dinners will have much less impact on your physique to compared to when you're depriving yourself. Also, make good options at these dinners!
5.) Eat to perform. Just like high level athletes fuel up to perform on the field, you need to eat to perform out in the work force. Food is your friend, not the enemy!
I get it, at this point you might be saying, "Joel this sounds all well in good, but I still want to lose weight and you're telling me to not shy away from food...I want to feel good and look good to help my professional appearance!"
Listen I understand. And in this last part to this, I'm going to tell you one thing that should really help you out. Focus on building your nutrition lifestyle around the 5 points above. Once you feel like you're doing a good job (not even a great job) at this, focus on pulling back 300-500 calories per day along with training hard in the gym. This will be enough to help you lean out but still be eating enough to operate at full capacity at your job too!
The working professionals who try to follow depriving diets plans to maintain appearances and mental alertness, these people 9 out of 10 times will run into problems with their energy levels and will want to resort to eating whatever they can get their hands on. They will feel good at first, but if you're nutrition isn't supporting your work lifestyle nor your training program, you will soon run into a brick wall. The ones who have the most success, understand that eating for success is a big part of the game!
I hope you see by now, that yes you understand there is this importance to training and nutrition in regards to your working career, but by mismanaging the fitness side of things can actually lead to results that you don't want. You want to respect these rules to training and nutrition so you can let them work for you and not against you! Manage your stress and eat to perform!
It is 2020, and by now all athletes, sport coaches, and parents should realize there is an importance to Strength & Conditioning Training Programs for all athletes. More and more people are getting excited about discussing and recognizing the importance of training, and for me I think that's totally cool!! Because in order to compete at your highest level, your body must be prepared and physically developed to maximize your physical skill sets as athlete. More and more athletes are training and preparing their bodies during their off season. If you're an athlete who is not training, you are slowly getting left behind as more and more athletes are understanding the advantages of physical athletic performance!
As a Physical Prep Coach, the tricky part to all of this is to provide athletes a product that is very beneficial to them. When athletes take the field, court, or track, often times other variables can mask poor training programs. A couple things that could cause this could be...
I honestly believe that well over 95% of sport coaches, parents, and even the athletes do not know how to decipher if a training program is actually appropriate nor are able to identify the pro's and con's of it as well. And this is the main reason why I am writing this Lifestyle Blog!
I want to break down three different styles of Training Programs that are typically prescribed for athletes to improve in their respective sport(s). These are different general approaches that I tend to see. I'll describe what they look like, and I'll outline the benefits and the drawbacks of each of them. The names that I will be providing for them, is not technically their universal names, just what I (and maybe other coaches) identify them to be called.
1.) The Busy Work Training Program
This is a very popular style of training program among Junior High and High School Athletes. You may see these in health club programs or even be done at the high school as a form of "speed work." These types of programs usually give the athletes a lot of different movement type drills. You may see a lot speed ladders, athletes pulling each other around with bands, and some random cones drills that athletes will be running around. The athletes are usually tired after these types of workouts, they're sweating, and if you were to watch them, it looks like they're getting a lot of work done because you'll see a bunch of movement happening.
The Busy Work Training Programs have been popular for those who just want their athletes doing something. Or sometimes a certain former high level athlete now runs these groups and it attracts athletes in that way. The athletes get tired and a good sweat, so coaches and parents find that appealing. All the while, these workouts provide very limited benefits when trying to increase athletic performance!
2.) The Weights Only Training Program
This training program has been made popular by high school football programs for the last 5 or so decades. And there is a ton of benefits from Strength Training and developing athletic performance! But it's not the end all be all. It's so common to hear the words "hit/hitting the weight room" by coaches, announcers, and athletes in general. And the focus of these training programs are simply to only lift weights for months at a time until it's time to start running just a couple weeks before practice starts.
I'm a huge proponent for making athletes stronger, but these programs are almost always built around the belief that if the weight room max numbers improve, it means their performance on the field will improve. And while yes, getting stronger helps a lot of things, there's so much left on the table that an athlete needs beyond just increased strength levels inside of the weight room.
And while strength training is a beautiful thing in athletic development, too often it is abused and athletes get rushed into too much volume and intensity before they are ready. This happens in the group of coaches that just rely on max out numbers to be the superior objective in the off season weight lifting programs.
I can't tell you how many times that a parent has told me how frustrated they were that their son/daughter went to the high school weight room the first day and they were asked to max out while never touching a weight in their life. Or even more challenging, a similar athlete being asked to perform Hang Cleans and Snatches (highly technical Olympic Lifts) on their first day ever of training. This in of itself serves multiple problems, both short and long term. If you're not connecting the dots right now how this isn't wise, please feel free to reach out to me and we can discuss the limitations for this.
Strength Training is a beautiful thing, but it's not the only thing in building athletic performance. By increasing just strength in the weight room may be great to get stronger, add muscles mass, and building team unity, a host of problems can later arise for athletes. And for the crowd out there that says, hit the weight room and go do speed training for extra work, that also provides it's own drawbacks. We'll cover this more in number 3...
3.) The Holistic Training Program
This type of training program is probably the most unpopular here in America, but a lot of coaches/trainers are now seeing the light! Many other parts of the world have been developing their athletes with this approach for a long time. And they have been taking much smaller populations and still competing with the melting pot of the USA in the Olympics. This is the style of approach that I coach with at my training facility because it delivers that best impact for developing athletes and actually improving their physical performance on the field, court, or track!
This style of training program recognizes many different training abilities. For example, movement quality, strength, power, speed, aerobic conditioning, mobility, and flexibility. And not only are they recognized, but they are all trained together in unison so that these abilities actually help manipulate to help stimulate growth in all facets of training. That's why I call it a "Holistic Training Program" because it's interconnecting all the parts of athletic development, instead of the standard compartmentalized approach of where athletes tend to get passed off from one objective to the other.
So that may seem like a lot to take in. And to be honest, it is. But I want to cover one primary example how this actually applies in real world situations. You know how I said, athletes could do weight room work one day, and do speed training the next (compartmentalized)? This could easily happen in a program where on Mondays, athletes perform heavy squat work, and on Tuesday, they go with the track/speed coach to do speed training work. Even if both days, the programs are done correctly, you'll have heavy interference with the speed training workout due to heavy fatigue from Monday's Squat workouts. And it will cause athletes to run slower, sacrifice mechanics, increase training injury rates, and not maximizing the speed work. If this is done over and over, you could potentially and probably will make an athlete slower, especially if you're dealing with a non beginner athlete!
The Holistic workouts are slower paced. Emphasis on recovery periods, quality of movement, and sub-maximal strength work, could make the workout look slow paced and almost as if the athletes are not trying as hard compared to The Busy Work Training Program. But you'll see various speed work drills, jumping exercises, throwing exercises, possible some Olympic lift variations. You'll also see some Squat, Bench, and Deadlift variations that are focused with technique building the strength, not loading the bar up just because. You'll see some assistance style exercises to build up weak areas and to keep the body "balanced." Conditioning protocols will be in place as well over the course of the week, even if you're months out from training camp. And you will see emphasis on stretching and mobility work too!
It may sound like a lot is going on, and there is a lot of be factored into producing a program like this. It takes many hours and years of coaching to truly understand how all of this fits together in different populations, time of the year, and the types of athletes. Small tweaks can be made to make huge adjustments for different levels and types of athletes!
This is my preferred style of Training Program for athletes to follow. The training is designed for the athlete to physically peak on the field, court, or track and not leave their best performances during training. This help improve their ability to move efficiently, builds speed, power, and strength while not having to rush anything to give these athletes these benefits!
These different style of Training Programs are just different categories that I've created for you so that you can help wrap your head around the different approaches out there. All 3 have their added benefits, and they all have their drawbacks too. The goal for this was to simply educate you on the differences of these styles so that you can have a better understanding of what you may be seeing.
Even though I may be biased following what I call the Holistic Training Program, I do appreciate a constant up-rise towards better developing athletes. I considered this Blog post, my contribution to help further educate athletes, coaches, and parents on the different styles of training approaches that are being used to physically develop athletes. Training is not a one size fits all approach and not all training programs are created equal!
The idea of TRAINING HARD is a very vague concept.
We hear this being thrown around quite often in this industry. Heck, I've said it a million times and I'll say it a million more. I have my definition of it, in which I'll explain very soon!
"To get good results you gotta train hard!"
"If you want to win the championship, you gotta train hard!"
"To have the body you always wanted, you gotta train hard!"
But what is TRAINING HARD???
Have you ever really asked yourself that question?
Here's what most people think it is, including myself before I got into coaching and actually learned what real training was!
Most people think TRAINING HARD, is training more than everyone else and giving it your all every single time.
And this sounds really cool, and maybe it paints a Rocky Training Montage in your head right now. You can hear the Hearts on Fire song playing in your head... But this actually couldn't be further from the truth!
People come in to meet with me to get started training. And more than half of them say things like...
"I'm ready for you to kick my butt!"
"Make sure you work my child hard to get them in shape!"
"I can't wait to be sore!"
I hear these types of comments so much that it's funny to me that people seem to be more conditioned to say that want to be tortured more than they want results LOL.
I swear it feels like I hear more about pain and suffering than I hear things like...
"Joel, I can't wait to get the same training results like so and so did!"
So I suppose I really shouldn't be surprised that most people think TRAINING HARD is to just keep adding more time training and more intensity...
But here is what I've learned about training the human body and what actually produces awesome results!
TRAINING HARD in my opinion, is being able to train with a planned intensity for each workout, consistently over a long period of time.
For each workout, you should have certain objectives and goals for what you're doing. Some workouts are designed to build more Volume. Some are designed to build more Intensity. And some workouts are designed to stimulate Recovery. And many more objectives can be included!
Executing the plan means executing your recovery sessions and your off days too...This is part of TRAINING HARD!
So, if you're showing up to your workouts, and you're supposed to be given it max effort, and you can't because you've trained vigorously the past 6 days...Then in my opinion, you're not TRAINING HARD.
If you're supposed to be performing a recovery workout, and instead you just try to do another tough workout, in my opinion, that's not TRAINING HARD either!
What most people think is TRAINING HARD, I call Training Recklessly!
I can go on and on about this topic and how it relates to so many avenues of training for different populations and goals. But I want to leave you with 3 main takeaways to ensure that YOU are TRAINING HARD and not recklessly!
With the Super Bowl fast approaching, I got to thinking about some Football. I've had this conversation in my head a million times, what would I do if I was in charge of a Football Program, more specifically a High School Football Program? What changes would I make to the traditional High School Football Program Protocols? Knowing what I know about training athletes as a Physical Preparation Coach, could I find areas to improve upon to build better systems?
I've spun this around in my head many times before and now I'm sharing this with you. This is how I'd prepare the team in the eyes of a Physical Preparation Coach!
This is all hypothetical and also as general as it gets, but read along and you'll see how some small adjustments, could go a long ways in improving player performance. What I'll be discussing in this Lifestyle Blog will be things I would change to help increase physical playing performances, most specifically under the Friday Night Lights! I won't be talking about which style of Offense I'd run, which coverage we'd be in on 3rd in long, or which play I'd call on 4th goal on the 1 yard line. I could tell you those, but I would be speaking from an unqualified angle. So I'll stay in my lane and stick to the physical performance side of things...
I want to share with you 3 Ideas that I would implement to help a High School Football Program improve playing performance. These are concepts and ideas that are coming straight from my world of Physical Preparation. I'm simply looking at Human Performance as I work through these ideas in my head. Again, these are general ideas for across the board for High School Football Programs!
Let's check them out!
1.) I'd Reschedule Weekly Practice Schedules
In my experience and current knowledge, majority of High School Football Programs practice Monday through Thursday, and play on Friday. Monday is usually a Walk Through style of practice, or at least an easier install day for the new week (if you lose, you'll probably do some punishment drills; another topic for another day). Tuesday and Wednesday are full pads and hard practices. And Thursday is a light practice to get game ready for Friday. This isn't necessarily a bad schedule, but I would tweak one thing around and elaborate on a couple things so that practices are structured with the idea in mind to improve Friday Night playing performance!
I would first make my schedule like this...
Monday - Hard Practice
Tuesday - Light Practice
Wednesday - Hard Practice
Thursday - Light Practice
Friday - Game Day: Friday Night Lights
Saturday - Recovery/Film
Sunday - Off
What I call a "Hard Day," I'm referring to a practice built around playing at FULL SPEED reps! I would give the athletes optimal rest periods so that they can actually RUN/MOVE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE every single rep during practice. We would focus more on Group and Team Sessions and emphasizing playing at full speed and executing like it's Friday Night. The goal would be to keep these practices short and sweet. Get in and get out. We could also schedule an In-Season Strength Training Program after these practices to maximize the Hard Day element by placing hardest stress variables on these days (this is another topic in of itself). The weight room workouts would be built around maintaining muscle strength and size but being friendly to the legs during the season.
What I call a "Light Day" for the Tuesday practice would be a day where the team focuses more on Individual Drills (drills that relate to Football Skills, more on this another day possibly), and a lot of teaching opportunities and things to clean up from Mondays practice heading into Wednesdays practice. A Tuesday night film session would be great post practice addition in this schedule!
At first glance, a coach may not be ideal to this type of practice, but we're essentially just flipping that original Monday and Tuesday practice around. We're doing this because by Monday, your athletes should be ready to run again after nearing the 72 hour mark since the game was played. And Tuesday, the idea is to let the body/legs recover so that we can come back and go FULL SPEED again for another practice on Wednesday! Coaches love to stress, "practice how you're going to play," this model will help instill that reality during the week!
Thursday, I would keep per usual with Pro Pads (helmets and shoulder pads) or Helmets only. This day would be a light day of course, but I'd focus on executing technique and player efficiency. I'd place position coaches on high demand that Thursdays, the players focus on position technique just as much as they would on what their responsibilities are! This practice should be short and no less than game situation rests between these plays. This is a light tune up practice, and it should look sharp and your athletes should be fresh after the practice. If it's done right, you're players should have more energy at the end of it than when they started.
Any Coach who understands Speed Concepts knows that you cannot replicate true Speed Work two days in a row. And by manipulating this schedule like this, we now can have 2 true speed practices and 1 game. This also equates to a great plan to execute 3 days of High Intensity Speed Work, which is also important to understand in training athletes to be fast!
By scheduling it this way, the athletes legs won't be dragging through the week and they will develop the ability to play as fast as they're meant to on Friday Night, if not faster than originally expected. The last thing you want is Football Athletes operating below 90% on Game Night. Anything below 90% is not considered their "A Game"...
Saturday, we'd watch film and we would go through Mobility Drills and Stretching. The goal is to hit full range of motions and stretch to relax the muscles. Some light power speed drills could be done to circulate the blood through their bodies.
Sunday is off and Monday we will be ready to practice again FAST!
2.) Build Off Season Preparation Around Speed
In the first idea, you read a lot about Speed. And get ready, because that's all we're talking about for this one as well. All coaches love the idea of putting fast athletes on the field. Especially in today's age of style of football. But, I see Off-Season Programs built around Body Building style workouts to just "Get Big." And we even see Strongman type workouts or Military Workouts to build "team bonding" and "toughness." I'm sorry, but those team bonding and toughness activities won't do the team any good when the other team is smoking by our athletes because our athletes are tough in the winter, spring, and summer months but unfortunately slow in the fall months :(
Running by pulling each other with bands, or throwing the foot ladder down on the ground to build "quick feet" isn't going to do the trick to create faster athletes!
Athletes need to be taught how to sprint! Sprinting is a skill that needs to be taught. If a football program has a bad off season program, the best thing they can have at their disposal is a good track program and hope to god that all of the skill athletes go out for the track team.
You may be asking, "Joel at your facility your athletes lift weights, this sounds different from what you do?"
And I'd say, "yes we strength train because it is a part of Speed Training and we train it with the intent to produce faster and healthier athletes out of my facility!" And we also do Speed Training Drills and we pair it alongside Strength Training all year long. It just happens in certain progressions. Same concepts I'd bring to a Football Program.
I'd be programming Sprint Work in often just like I do with my athletes. The team would perform Sprints, Jumps, and Throws for Dynamic Speed Work aka "Explosiveness." And we would utilize variations of Squats, Bench, Deadlift, Rows, and Ab Work as our primary focus to develop strength to create faster and healthier athletes!
3.) Totally Revamp Pre-Season Camp Schedule
If you're still reading but you think I sound crazy so far, hang on tight for this one. It's about to get a lot worse for you...
I'm not a fan nor comfortable of how August is handled for Football Teams. Two practices a day, 6 days a week. Everyday is basically a hard day of practice. And "camp legs" get created within days where it feels like you have 20 pound weights strapped to your legs...You better believe I'd do 3 things differently during camp for my athletes.
I know this is going to make you nervous if you're a true die hard Football Enthusiast (I am one as well), but please read on if you want to see Fast Athletes take the field and win games!
You're going to notice that in my way, there would be A LOT less Football Practicing than what we're used to seeing and understanding as normal...And in my world of developing and preparing athletes, Less in More is a very-very-very powerful tool to unlocking someones potential...
Make no mistake about it, I love hard work, dedication, and consistency more than anyone else! But I also love producing amazing results too! You can still have your cake and eat it too by just pulling back a little, in order to get a lot more from your athletes! This should be the new standard of "trust the process."
1.) I would only practice once a day. If there is a second session, it would be a walk through session for teaching.
2.) You know my Hard/Light Schedule I had for the season? I'd do this for Camp too. 3 "Hard Days" and 3 "Light Days" on rotation. No two Hard Days back to back.
3.) Because we get to cut down on so much of practice, we can spend more time in the Film Room, Weight Room, and also adding in some Recovery Sessions during the week so that the players are fresh, healthy, and performing at Top Speeds throughout the Pre-Season Practices!
Bonus: No end of practice sprints either. They shouldn't be needed when you have heavy concentrated loads of sport specific practice.
Again this may sound so counterproductive right now in your mind. You're thinking, "how will we be in shape for the season? We can't let other teams outwork us!"
"Trust the process" and read on...
MAKE SURE YOU DON'T SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH: This is going to play out in our favor. While the other teams are "outworking our team" we will be fresh and fast while their kids are cramping and gassing out in the 3rd quarter. Our athletes will be "in shape" because we've been preparing to play at 90-100% while the other athletes from other programs are conditioning themselves to play at 60-90% during camp. When they're supposed to open it up and play, they're not conditioned to handle these outputs. Even worse, they're still going to be fatigued from their hard physically tough camp and won't be able to reach their full outputs until almost half of the season goes by. All across the board, many football teams do not look great until after Week 3. Like Vince Lombardi says, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all" and if our team comes out of camp fatigued and not prepared, the athletes WILL feel like cowards in the early weeks on the season with their bodies filled with fatigued from surviving camp!
By now, you can see that my changes would implement re-arranging and restructuring some elements in a Football Program. And I understand the resist that would be met originally with these ideas. That's because our eyes have got accustomed to watching football be done a certain way for so long. And these things aren't as visual to the traditional eye because almost every program is ran the same way, so we see the same results competing against each other every year.
Make no mistake about it, these changes would make life easier on all parties. Athletes would be able to produce better performances when the lights come on and Coaches would be able to get more out of their athletes as well as get to coach even more teaching opportunities. And I know I discussed a lot about athletes playing faster on Friday Nights, but if we could help manage fatigue better, I truly believe a lot of injuries would be heavily reduced all across the board!
Look, I grew up in North East Ohio, I still live here and if you look past some dwindling team numbers (at some schools) Football culture is just as strong as ever! We produce many great athletes out of this area as just as many elite coaches from this area too! This Lifestyle Blog was not meant to call out anyone, but instead realizing that almost every program is ran very similar to each others. It's a game built around tradition, in which I highly appreciate. But my goal moving forward is to challenge you to think outside of the box that football exists in and to see what other possibilities are available to produce even better and healthier athletes on Friday Nights! My goal is to only help make everyone else's jobs a little easier. Lets create an even better Football Tradition of High Performance!
If you have any questions or would like to speak more with me about Football Preparation, please feel free to email me at email@example.com and we can discuss these details in much more in depth content!